Tuesday, October 25, 2011
2012 Hyundai Veloster: A First Look
By NATALIE BROOKS
With so much demand for greater fuel efficiency, Hyundai continues to deliver its 40 mpg standard with the Veloster.
The new sport-model is engineered and geared toward a younger audience with its focus on a centralization of portable electronics. Yet, the Veloster, as Hyundai puts it, “doesn’t judge”.
With its practical reinvention of the coupe and as a car built for “whatever,” this concentration on design with functionality expands the reach of Hyundai customers that have grown the brand.
The Veloster introduces an all new 1.6-liter GDI Gamma engine paired with two transmissions, Hyundai’s proprietary six-speed manual and Hyundai’s first EcoShift dual-clutch.
Upon the new arrival’s release, the Beat had a drive and a peek at each Veloster in the warm, seaside air of the sunshine state’s St. Petersburg.
Some of the features setting the Veloster apart from the mainstream are its third passenger side door, to avoid awkward rear-seat access, and a multi-function 7-inch touch screen that welcomes you with sound and a customizable image before starting your drive.
Functions provided on the LG display are Pandora internet radio for iPhone users, Gracenote advanced voice recognition and album cover art via iPod, photo slideshow, video playback, as well as two fuel economy games, “ECO Coach and Blue Max,” used to track the driver’s fuel efficiency when driving. Designed for modification, personalizations of themes are available for background colors, images and sound. The 7-inch LG display is simple to use and makes for a less distracting drive with this ability to centralize typically portable applications within the center console.
Its hidden passenger door (the handle is tucked into the window frame) and 7-inch screen of multimedia features makes Hyundai the first in innovating an “Advanced technology three-door coupe”.
The sport-bike inspired design, described as a “fluidic sculpture,” has a motorcycle visor feel from the front and includes features like wraparound headlights and taillights to give the illusion that the car is in constant motion. Inside, the standard cloth seating is comfortable and supportive, coming in full black or full gray. Adding the Style/Tech packages, seating comes in black, gray, or red/black leatherette bolster with cloth inserts.
Competing with the Honda CR-Z and the Scion tC, the Veloster has the best-in-class interior volume in the compact sporty car segment. Both models are very spacious for an all adult seating despite outward compact appearance, the passenger volume measuring to 89.8 cubic feet and the cargo 15.5 cubic feet. The Veloster also carries tons of storage space with front door pockets with bottle holders, front and rear cupholders with storage consoles, and a dual-tiered armrest storage box.
The Veloster provides three different packages: Base, Style, and Technology. Basic standard features consist of XM radio with USB auxiliary jacks, a hands free Bluetooth phone system with voice recognition, Blue Link telematics system, a seven inch LCD touch screen, and 17 inch alloy wheels.
While the base package is appealing in itself, it’s hard not to make an upgrade for the Style and Tech packages, especially when the Tech package requires the purchasing of the Style package.
The Style package, which completely enhances the car’s already impressive interior and exterior at an added $2,000, includes 18-inch alloy wheels, chrome grille, front fog lights, sunroof, a premium audio package, and leather steering wheel and seating. The Tech package, also after an added $2,000, offers 18-inch alloys with painted inserts, backup warning sensors, navigation system with rearview camera, push button start, and 115V outlet.
Currently, the base Veloster M/T starts at $17,300, but moves up to $21, 300 after adding the style and tech packages. While the base DCT starts at $18, 550 the additional style and tech packages move the MSRP up to $22, 550.
While the Veloster is aesthetically daring, its dual-clutch transmission (DCT) may appear to potential drivers as confused or cautious in its driving delivery, responding with slight hesitation at first foot-to-gas. And for those craving more horsepower the Veloster leaves buyers questioning when the model will offer an engine upgrade.
Nevertheless, the new direct-injected four-cylinder engine, producing 138 horsepower, paired with the DCT drives with confidence in its road gripping standard 17-inch alloys with EBD and Brake Assist. Hyundai’s first DCT also offers manual shifting as well as paddle shifters on the steering wheel.
Driving the six-speed manual is surprisingly smooth thanks to the model’s light clutch. Steering is more personalized with not just an adjustable steering for height but for width as well, with the option of moving the steering wheel forward or back from the driver’s seat.
The 2012 Hyundai Veloster offers a fun, unique ride and designs with its asymmetric three door entries, advanced multimedia technology and a fuel economy that’s nothing to sneeze at, creating an aggressive
new image for the coupe.